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May 14, 2024

How to Start a Career in Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)?

GRC Careers: Pathways & Key Skills Guide

Are you interested in pursuing a career in the dynamic and growing field of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC)? GRC professionals play a crucial role in helping organizations navigate the complex landscape of regulations, standards, and best practices to ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and achieve their business objectives. In this article, we'll explore the various career paths within GRC, the key certifications to earn, and the essential soft and technical skills needed to succeed in this field.

What is GRC?

Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) is a framework that helps organizations align their business objectives with regulatory requirements and industry standards. It involves managing risks, implementing controls, and ensuring compliance across the organization. GRC professionals work closely with various departments, including IT, security, legal, and finance, to develop and maintain a robust GRC program.

Career Paths in GRC

There are three main categories of GRC roles: internal, external, and hybrid.

Internal GRC Roles

Internal GRC roles involve working within an organization to manage and maintain its compliance program. Some common job titles include:

  • GRC Analyst

  • GRC Specialist

  • GRC Manager

  • Director of GRC or Compliance

Internal GRC professionals are responsible for preparing for external audits, conducting internal audits, collaborating with control owners (such as software and security engineers), and driving forward business objectives through the GRC program. To be successful in an internal GRC role, it's essential to have a deep understanding of the organization's business processes and technology stack.

External GRC Roles

External GRC professionals work for security consulting companies or accounting firms, assessing whether other organizations are complying with specific frameworks or regulations. Typical job titles include:

  • Security Consultant

  • GRC Consultant

  • Auditor

  • Principal or Director

As an external GRC professional, you'll work with multiple clients simultaneously, gaining exposure to various cybersecurity programs, technology stacks, and team dynamics. This diversity of experience can be both challenging and rewarding.

Hybrid GRC Roles

With the advancement of GRC technologies, a new category of hybrid roles has emerged. GRC software companies are increasingly seeking professionals who can help develop products that automate GRC activities and assist customers in implementing these tools effectively. Hybrid GRC roles offer an exciting opportunity to combine technical expertise with GRC knowledge to drive innovation in the industry.

Key Certifications for GRC Professionals

While certifications alone won't guarantee a job, they can enhance your knowledge and help advance your career. Here are three recommended certifications for GRC professionals:

1. Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) by ISACA

  • Validates expertise in auditing, controlling, monitoring, and assessing an organization's information technology and business systems.

2. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) by ISACA

  • Demonstrates knowledge in identifying and managing enterprise IT risks and implementing and maintaining information systems controls.

3. Certificate of Cloud Auditing Knowledge (CCAK) by the Cloud Security Alliance

  • Signifies the ability to audit cloud computing systems and complements other GRC certifications.

Before pursuing these certifications, it's helpful to have a solid foundation in cybersecurity and cloud computing. Consider earning the CompTIA Security+ certification and a cloud provider-specific certification, such as those offered by AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.

Essential Soft Skills for GRC Professionals

Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work, interact with others, problem-solve, and manage your work. As a GRC professional, your soft skills will be crucial to your success. Some key soft skills to cultivate include:

  1. Communication: You'll need to effectively explain technical concepts to non-technical audiences and vice versa. Clear, inclusive, and empathetic communication is essential.

  2. Teamwork: Being a good team player is crucial in GRC. Building strong relationships with stakeholders and being a valued member of the team will make your job easier and more enjoyable.

  3. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: GRC issues can be complex and high-stakes. Being able to think critically, resolve conflicts, and find solutions under pressure is invaluable.

  4. Adaptability: The GRC landscape is constantly evolving, so you'll need to be adaptable and open to learning new things.

The Importance of Technical Skills

While GRC is not inherently a technical role, having a baseline understanding of the technology you're evaluating is essential. For example, if you're managing or auditing a company that hosts its infrastructure on the cloud, you should understand the shared responsibility model, different cloud computing models, and be able to speak the language of the teams you're working with.

GRC professionals should strive to acquire basic technical skills relevant to their specific role. This knowledge will help you build trust with key stakeholders and become a more effective GRC professional. Some areas to focus on include:

  • Cloud Computing

  • Network Security

  • Data Privacy and Protection

  • Incident Response

  • Vulnerability Management

Developing a growth mindset and continuously learning about new technologies and security concepts will serve you well in your GRC career.

Getting Started in GRC

If you're interested in starting a career in GRC, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Educate Yourself: Take courses, attend webinars, and read industry publications to learn about GRC concepts, frameworks, and best practices. The LinkedIn Learning course on Governance, Risk, and Compliance is a great place to start.

  2. Earn Relevant Certifications: As mentioned earlier, certifications like CISA, CRISC, and CCAK can enhance your knowledge and credibility in the field.

  3. Gain Practical Experience: Look for internships or entry-level positions in GRC or related fields, such as IT audit or risk management. Many organizations have rotational programs that provide exposure to different areas of GRC.

  4. Network: Attend industry events, join professional associations (such as ISACA or the Cloud Security Alliance), and connect with GRC professionals on LinkedIn. Building a strong network can lead to job opportunities and valuable insights.

  5. Develop Your Soft and Technical Skills: Continuously work on improving your communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and technical skills. Stay curious and open to learning new things.


A career in Governance, Risk, and Compliance offers a challenging and rewarding path for individuals passionate about helping organizations navigate the complex landscape of regulations, standards, and best practices. By understanding the different career paths, earning relevant certifications, and developing essential soft and technical skills, you can position yourself for success in this dynamic and growing field.

Whether you choose to work internally, externally, or in a hybrid role, the opportunities in GRC are vast and ever-expanding. With the increasing importance of cybersecurity, data privacy, and regulatory compliance, the demand for skilled GRC professionals is only set to grow. By following the steps outlined in this article and staying committed to continuous learning and growth, you can build a fulfilling and impactful career in GRC.

We hope this post helped in GRC Careers: Pathways & Key Skills Guide. Thanks for reading this post. Please share this post and help secure the digital world. Visit our website,, and our social media page on FacebookLinkedInTwitterTelegramTumblrMedium, and Instagram and subscribe to receive updates like this.  

Arun KL

Arun KL is a cybersecurity professional with 15+ years of experience in IT infrastructure, cloud security, vulnerability management, Penetration Testing, security operations, and incident response. He is adept at designing and implementing robust security solutions to safeguard systems and data. Arun holds multiple industry certifications including CCNA, CCNA Security, RHCE, CEH, and AWS Security.

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